The weather is all grey. Out of nothing it starts raining just after I've been to the restroom to put in my lenses.
After a quarter of an hour it stops just as abrupt.
If you will manage in Germany, you have to know about the rivers. My new german friend, next to me, comes from around Minden. "An der Weser", he says to clear up things. But how is it with Elben, Oder, Weser, Main, Rhein and Donau, to mention those I know the name of but can't station exactly, besides Rhein and Donau. He's rather silent. When I ask directly, he admits to be on his way to Istanbul. "Ah, du auch", I say. So, the baker and his friend are also heading there, he says surprised.
At 8.10 I'm ready. It should reach 30 degr. according to the german, so I'd better get going while it's cool.
It's a short climb to the bridge across to the left bank - unfortunately. I've probably said it before, but this is the worst climb. Maybe it's still morning. My lungs are hanging out the last part - but up I go.
I'm accompanied by a german from MŁnchen for a while, who speaks good english. His dream is to go from Passau to Vienna without stopping. This time he only reached Melk. People have crazy dreams, but you have to, don't you think?
He stops at a church and I go on. Meet with my silent friend again in Krems. There's a shop a little ahead with superb coffee, he tells. "Rosterei", you can get what you want. I'll try that - ethiopian. Wonderful. The man has been in the shop for 60 years and is now 80, if I understood his german correctly. But he makes an effort, when he speaks to me, I can hear. I don't understand much of what he's saying to the locals. He had to learn russian in school after the war, the area was occupied from the russians - i didn't know. He doesn't seem to remember when the left. My silent friend passes by, and see me, my bike - easy to regocnize from the messy packing - is outside. Later he's there again having turned more talkative. He's been on his way from Minden (an der Weser) for a week and needs to talk. That's fine, we seem to be well-matched.
So from Krems we go on together. Take a break where the local Fire Brigade is making a "Ziller" contest on the river. "Zille" is an austrian word for a small boat, I don't know the exact specifikations, there are also "Motor Ziller". He goes to a booth to get some "Kraut". Later we make a break for coffee at another spot. At this time he gets on my nerves, or more correctly: I find it tirering to listen to his german all the time. After all I have to concentrate a lot, I'm not that good! I try to tell him, but he doesn't seem to understand. Keeps on talking.
As time goes by I realize I have to hurry, to get to Markus and Berni
at 18. Even I get a sms telling the doorbell doesn't work, so I have to
call when I'm there. The sms gives me the opportunity to reply and
adjust the time to 18.30. But that too gets too early.
In the end we reach the moment to say goodbye. He's going further on along the Donau to a camping site and I have to go somewhere behind the center. Gablenzgasse. We part properly and I get his card.
I ask the first that comes along. I do carry a map of Vienna, but on bike in a foreign capital? You can't get enough of help. And I'm lucky - or have I once again estimated the situation right? A sporty man on a MTB 35-45 years old. Yes, he knows, he's not going QUITE so far himself, but I may just follow him. I rush after him, feeling how these weeks on the bike have given me new power. He asks how old I am, and doubt my answer. I do too.
I shake his hand and thank him when we have to part, but know at this moment, that Vienna is divided into "bezirge" and that Ganzlergasse lies in the 16th and the 15th bezirg. I just have to follow the U-bahn from 18th where we are now, through 17th until 16th where the street will turn up to the right. And the bezirg-numbers are on the street signs. It's easy but longer than I expected, but in the end I get to 16th. And finally to a street without name. I ask people around if this isn't Ganzlergasse? Yes. Unfortunately it's a one way street directed the wrong way, so I have to go on the sidewalk all the way to no. 33. I arrive 18.35. I did it! "Ziel erreicht. Markus ich bin hier. Ganzlergasse 33!" And Markus descends with his young son in his arms. How lovely to see them!